Breaking the Wall

Week starting Aug 27, 2006

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Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986



Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

Best marathon: 2:23:57 (2007, St. George). Won the Top of Utah Marathon twice (2003,2004). Won the USATF LDR circuit in Utah in 2006.

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

Did not know this until June 2012, but it turned out that I've been running with spina bifida occulta in L-4 vertebra my entire life, which explains the odd looking form, struggles with the top end speed, and the poor running economy (cannot break 16:00 in 5 K without pushing the VO2 max past 75).  


Short-Term Running Goals:

Qualify for the US Olympic Trials. With the standard of 2:19 on courses with the elevation drop not exceeding 450 feet this is impossible unless I find an uncanny way to compensate for the L-4 defect with my muscles. But I believe in miracles.

Long-Term Running Goals:

2:08 in the marathon. Become a world-class marathoner. This is impossible unless I find a way to fill the hole in L-4 and make it act healthy either by growing the bone or by inserting something artificial that is as good as the bone without breaking anything important around it. Science does not know how to do that yet, so it will take a miracle. But I believe in miracles.


I was born in 1973. Grew up in Moscow, Russia. Started running in 1984 and so far have never missed more than 3 consecutive days. Joined the LDS Church in 1992, and came to Provo, Utah in 1993 to attend BYU. Served an LDS mission from 1994-96 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Got married soon after I got back. My wife Sarah and I are parents of eleven children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary,  Bella.  and Leigha. We home school our children.

I am a software engineer/computer programmer/hacker whatever you want to call it, and I am currently working for RedX. Aside from the Fast Running Blog, I have another project to create a device that is a good friend for a fast runner. I called it Fast Running Friend.

Favorite Quote:

...if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Favorite Blogs:

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Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 870.94
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 640.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 450.37
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Brown Crocs 4 Lifetime Miles: 1334.06
Amoji 1 Lifetime Miles: 732.60
Amoji 2 Lifetime Miles: 436.69
Amoji 3 Lifetime Miles: 380.67
Lopsie Sports Sandals Lifetime Miles: 818.02
Lopsie Sports Sandals 2 Lifetime Miles: 637.27
Iprome Garden Clogs Lifetime Miles: 346.18
Beslip Garden Clogs Lifetime Miles: 488.26
Joybees 1 Lifetime Miles: 1035.60
Madctoc Clogs Lifetime Miles: 698.29
Blue Crocs Lifetime Miles: 1164.32
Kimisant Black Clogs Lifetime Miles: 720.62
Black Crocs 2023 Lifetime Miles: 1312.70
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran with Ted in the Provo Canyon this morning. 2 mile warmup, then the standard 3 mile tempo run in 15:44. Mile splits - 5:14 - 5:18 - 5:12. Last quarter in 73. Afterwards, 5x400 alternating down and up - 70.3 down - 77.9 up - 71.8 down - 76.9 up - 68.7 down. The wind was very strange - going down I felt some resistance on the last 100 - probably a cross wind. Then going up I again felt some serious resistance on the last 200. Came home and ran with the kids. In the evening ran during their soccer practice, including 1 mile with Abby. Sarah and I went to see Dr. Jex to see what he discovered in his tests. Both of us have less than ideal neck curvature angle - she had 13 degrees, I had 16. On top of that I had some serious issues in the lower back - the spine bends the wrong way. He is going to do some additional tests to see if the method he uses (Pettibon method) can fix it. The encouraging thing is that Trever Ball has been treated using this method with excellent results. So I am willing to take the risk and give it a try.

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Ran with Ted in the morning over by my house. Afterwards 4x100 with ankle weights - 18.6 - 18.4 - 17.8 -17.6, and 2x100 without 15.9 - 15.8. I did not make a conscious effort to run faster than last week, for some reason it happened naturally. I suppose this is a good sign.

Afterwards ran 1.25 with Sarah. She ran the last mile of it in 12:06, her fastest mile since the birth of Jacob.

In the evening ran with the kids, and did bench press, a set of 5, and then a set of 4 with 105 pounds, narrow grip.

Went to see Dr. Jex for what he calls the stress test. You do some neck stretches, then he does a whole bunch of adjustments, and then puts some weight on your head and X-rays you to measure the neck angle. The measurement under those conditions is supposed to indicate how well you will respond to the Pettibon exercises. Under stress, my angle improved from 16 to 25 degrees, but still not quite the desired 45.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Ran with Clyde and Ted this morning. Met Clyde in person for the first time. We circled around the neighborhood trying to stay flat. Made a couple of laps around the cemetery. Then Clyde started to push the pace , but I encouraged him to slow down.

Then we decided to go to the Slate Canyon Loop. Clyde started to push the pace again. This time I figured I wanted to see what he would do on the Slate Canyon Loop. Ted hung back, and Clyde and I went at a pace that felt like his marathon race pace to him. He shifted gears big time on the hill, and even after I encourged him to back off a bit, we still hit the uphill stretch in 1:59 (0.29), which I do on my tempo runs at 5:40 pace. With a half-mile to go, I suggested he try his 5 K race pace. We hit the uphill quarter in 1:27, and then the flat one afterwards in 1:24. 13:12 for the Slate Canyon Loop.

Then went back to Ted, and finished the 8.2 or so miles for the morning.

In the afternoon ran with the kids, did always on the run, and ran to Benjamin's soccer game and back. Benjamin's team won 7:0, and he scored. Also ran a mile Abby afterwards and Benjamin and Joseph in the stroller. For clarification, Abby is not our kid, she is our friend's daughter.

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Dropped my mother off at the airport in SLC, and then met up with Mike Kirk at the Steiners Aquatic Center. We warmed up downhill to the Sugar House Park. We went around to familiarize ourselves with the Sugar House Park 5 K course, and verified all the marks against the course map I got from the USATF website.

Then we started the tempo run along the course. We agreed to run at the fastest pace the slower of us could handle, and that the one that felt strong will pull the one that felt weaker. When Mike started pushing it on the early downhill, I thought I'd have to draft pretty soon. However, he eased off enough on the uphill to give me a break.

We hit the 2 mile mark in 3:40 then the first mile in 5:24, and the first lap in 7:15. Then we got to the hill on the second lap around 1.6 miles into the run or so. Mike started struggling, so we slowed down a lot. 2 miles in 11:13 (5:49, 7:33 lap). Afterwards, Mike was able to recover and get going at a good pace again. We hit the 1 mile mark in 13:03 (7:39 lap), 2 laps in 14:56 (7:41 lap), and we were on the downhill and started shifting gears. 16:45 at 3 miles (5:32). Then we had to find the finish, which we did not think to mark better earlier on, and the sun was in our eyes. So we slowed down some, and on top of that, did not take the tangent in fear of missing the finish mark. So we got 17:23 for the 5 K. Both of us were happy with it.

Afterwards, we ran back to the Aquatic Center for a cooldown. I noticed that Mike compared to me likes to push it a bit in the easy running. After running fast, I like to relax and chat.

I left the lights on in my car, so Mike gave me a jump start. Then I followed him to his house, took a shower, chatted a bit, and drove back to Provo.

Did some always on the run miles with a stroller, and ran with the kids. Also lifted weights - benchpress, 105 pounds, narrow grip, a set of 5, then 2 sets of 3.

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Ran easy by myself in the morning by my house. Saw Sarah getting out for a run, and went a mile with her. She did it in 11:17, the fastest time so far since the birth of Jacob.

Then looped around some more and found Matt Asplin. Ran some more with him.

Afterwards, went to Dr. Jex's office to start the Pettibon treatment. Did some neck and spine stretches and adjustments.

In the afternoon went to see a client, and ran a mile afterwards. Clocked a quarter on the Provo River Trail, it was 1:34. The stride felt wide and relaxed.

In the evening ran with the kids. Did some more Pettibon excercises.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Met up with Ted and Mike Kirk at the Canyon View Park. Ted drove us up to Vivian. We warmed up from there to the start of the Provo River 10 miler. Ted's measurement with Garmin 205 agreed with my earlier wheel measurement, and the distance was 3.23 miles from the east end of the guard rail by the bathroom.

From there we ran another 0.2 to the bathroom in the park, and back, which gave us 3.63 for a warmup.

Then Mike and I started the tempo run while Ted ran his own pace back to his car. Mike + downhill = trouble for whoever is trying to keep up with him. 16:37 for the 3.23 down the South Fork, or about 5:09 pace. According to gmap-pedometer, this is 480 feet of elevation drop, or about 2.8% grade. All the downhill running shook Mike up and he had to make a bathroom stop at Vivian.

Then we continued along the course of the Provo River 10 miler. Hit the 5 mile mark in 26:19, which sounds about right, but I always take Curt's mile marks with a grain of salt.

Passed the Nunns Park, the miles on my standard 3 mile tempo run course were 5:22, 5:27, 5:29 (16:18). Mike was pushing the pace. I would at times tuck behind him, and at times come out and help push it. One more mile after than, which we did a bit under 5:30. We hit Curt's 8 mile mark in 42:41. I was not quite sure where exactly the finish was, so we went all the way to the bridge that is definitely past the finish got 53:40 at that point. Our true time for the 10 mile course was probably around 53:35.

Then we jogged back to the Canyon View Park. Total of 15.9 for this run.

Ran with the kids in the evening to make it an 18 mile day. Also worked out with weights, bench press, 105 pounds, narrow grips sets of 5, then 4, then 3. Did Pettibon exercises.

Overall, the tempo run today shows that I have recovered to my pre-Desnews level for the most part. I raced the same course in 53:05 in June. The run today was hard, but I ran with what Mike calls "the killer instinct" off. When Mike ran faster than I wanted to, I'd just hang in there. When he backed off to a slower pace that opened a window of opportunity to cause trouble, I'd just take it without trying to neutralize him or make a break, which I would try in a race.

I asked Mike today for his opinion on the optimum length of the long run. I really like his approach - you should go for as long as you can maintain a good form. Of course, if I apply his suggestion too literally, I should never even start my long run.

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